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                                                                                                           April 15, 2015

Jumada A-Akhira 26, 1436

Dear Imams, Community Leaders, Brothers and Sisters, Muslim New Yorkers:

Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatul Allah wa Barakatuh.

Praise to Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and I bear witness that Mohammed is His servant and Messenger.

I have the honor to be the President of the Majlis Ash-Shura. In this context, I serve the Muslim community and the general society. It is the plan of Allah Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala that we gather from different places and diverse ethnicities in New York to work together. Each of us has a role in the betterment of the society, and each is to fulfill that role.

Majlis Ash-Shura is the oldest Muslim umbrella organization of Masjids in New York City. It has been representing the Muslim community and leading the struggle for the religious and civil rights since 1989. The Majlis has become the main voice of the Muslim community in New York with its diverse membership of Masjids, organizations, and institutions.

I have had the pleasure to know elite Muslim seniors, brothers and sisters, who have struggled continuously through the years to make a positive change in our community and other minority communities, alike. We should always honor these leaders and respect them. We ask Allah (SWT) to protect those who are alive and grant paradise to those who have returned to Him.

I have also come to know many promising young, active members who have given a significant momentum to the movement of our community. With their talent, commitment and energy they can make a difference in the society. It is of our responsibility to support them and provide for them a stronger Islamic background.

As the President of the Majlis, I am committed to work with every one of you for the purpose of advancing the interest of the community. Our community has to be secure, respected, and at the table for important matters involving our city, our state and our country. My duty is to work with you to unify and strengthen our voice and direct the efforts towards higher levels of achievement. We need to build stronger work relationships with friends and allies, and keep an ongoing dialog with all parties with whom we share common interests and concerns.

Our Muslim community has high potential and a strong ability to achieve with its youth, professionals, institutions and businesses. The obligation of all members and Muslim organizations is to align their efforts with the Majlis for a unified voice for the Muslims in New York. From an Islamic perspective, unity is not an option but an obligation.

Allah (SWT) states in the Holy Qur’an:

 “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies, and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” (Q 3:103).

The unity extends to a larger circle. The Hadith related to the Prophet (saws) states:

“There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for a fair-skinned person over a person with dark skin, nor for a dark-skinned person over a person with fair skin. Whoever is more pious and God-fearing is more deserving of honor.” (Musnad Ahmad)

As a community, we have celebrated the latest achievements symbolized in the Muslim holidays and the appointment of several members to various positions. These are results of years of collective and continuous efforts and hard work of coalitions, organizations, and individuals. I thank all Muslims and non-Muslims who have worked decades to make these achievements happen.

Our aim in the Majlis is to realize more achievements in an organized and effective form. We shall form committees and teams to represent the Muslim community and handle its issues including communications with official administration, law enforcement, legal system and interfaith.

In addition, the Majlis is looking at the social issues such as children services, foster care, homelessness, shelters, reintegration education, employment, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and affordable housing. We are to support the Muslim organizations involved in these fields to acquire funds, and work with specialized organizations and government agencies to assure that the community satisfies its needs.

We are committed to supporting the Masjids, schools and centers in providing the necessary assistance to families and individuals. The Majlis will work with these places of worship and education to empower the youth in facing the challenges of diversions, exposure to calls for violence, as well as involvement in unwanted behaviors and conducts. Further, we are committed to keeping our imams and community leaders updated, and providing them with professional development training to deal with the issues of concern.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, it is imperative that we organize our work. It is time to plan, set goals for the future and establish rules of engagements on how to achieve our targets. We will invite all interested Muslim organizations and individuals to take a part in a wide discussion on a social framework map to set our community on its progress path and accelerate its development.

By the help of Allah and your contribution, we will, insha’Allah, establish a strong foundation for the Muslim community in New York. We are committed to serving Allah (SWT) by serving the society. We are determined to eliminate divisive actions and misrepresentation, defend the integrity and the rights of the community, and fight Islamophobia and bigotry.

We ask Allah (SWT) to guide us and help us to be at the level of the expectations and the seriousness of challenges. May He bless us all and accept our good deeds. Ameen.

With all due respect, your brother,

 Abdelhafid Djemil, Ph.D.

President of Majlis Ash-Shura

The Islamic Leadership Council of New York

Adjemil@majlisny.org

 

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